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In Memoriam: Blogcritics Books Editor Gordon Hauptfleisch

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It is with incredible sadness that we must report to our readers that long-time Books Editor Gordon Hauptfleisch passed away late last week at the age of 59. A former reviewer for the San Diego Union Tribune, Gordon began at Blogcritics in 2005. Books were very much his life, whether reading and reviewing books, managing bookstores, serving as the purchasing manager for San Diego Technical Books or editing others’ reviews here at Blogcritics Magazine.

He not only had a fabulous critical eye both in his own reviews and spiffing up those reviews he edited, he was mentor to many writers at Blogcritics in our eclectic virtual community. But perhaps, more than anything, Gordon was a mensch. The word in Yiddish (and in German) means only “human being,” but expresses much more: compassion, kindness, and caring. Gordon also had a dry and rapier sense of humor, which kept those who would converse with him on their toes (and laughing).

According to Blogcritics’ senior books editor Bill Sherman, “Gordon was a sharp critic with a fannish love of hardboiled fiction – and a clear and helpful editor in the Blogcritics Books section.  It was Gordon who I turned to for editing advice over the years. As a critic of other writers, he could be blunt but never cruel. I’ll miss his witty occasional comments on my reviews.  R.I.P. Gordon.”

Comments Editor Christopher Rose said, “Gordon will be missed by both his fellow editors and everybody whose work he edited. He was tirelessly committed to both the site and, even more importantly, helping writers improve their work. Even during his frequent bouts of illness over the years, the main thing he always wanted was to get on line and edit another article. His dedication and loyalty were an example to us all and his loss is a great blow to all that knew him.”

Culture editor Victor Lana said, “I will think of Gordon fondly because he was a very positive presence. Whether commenting on an article or sending me a short thank you for editing pieces in the Books section, Gordon was also a gentleman. He didn’t dispense advice but words that were encouragement. I felt like he was a mentor, and so I feel this quotation is apropos: ‘A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you’ (Bob Proctor).”

Gordon will be dearly missed by his colleagues at Blogcritics. May he rest in peace.

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org). Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel, called "Anne Rice meets Michael Crichton," The Apothecary's Curse The Apothecary's Curse is now out from Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books. Her book on the TV series House, M.D., Chasing Zebras is a quintessential guide to the themes, characters and episodes of the hit show. Barnett is an accomplished speaker, an annual favorite at MENSA's HalloWEEM convention, where she has spoken to standing room crowds on subjects as diverse as "The Byronic Hero in Pop Culture," "The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes," "The Hidden History of Science Fiction," and "Our Passion for Disaster (Movies)."
  • Gordon will be much missed.

    One point of order though: the San Diego Union-Tribune is alive and well, although recently renamed, rather hideously IMO, U-T San Diego.

  • Leah-Jynn

    This shocks and saddens me. As he has been the kindness editor I have ever corresponded with for blogcrtics. I will miss his cheerful and helpful advice.

  • When Blogcritics moved from a free-for-all publishing model to an edited content publishing model, Gordon was among the group of founding editors. He brought with him a wealth of writing and editing talent, a storehouse of knowledge, and an insistence on standards that forced the rest of us to step up our game.

    His published body of work speaks eloquently for itself. Behind the scenes, he was smart, acerbic, self-deprecating, opinionated, and passionately committed to making the books section (and by extension, the writers) the best it could possibly be. It’s fair to say that he laid the foundation on which it currently rests, and if it’s true that a rising tide lifts all boats, then his efforts made the rest of us better at our work, too.

  • Dr Joseph S Maresca

    I’m very saddened to hear of his unexpected passing. I had no idea that there were such serious health issues to be dealt with. Gordon will be missed greatly.

  • Greg Barbrick

    I came to Blogcritics as a fan first, and Gordon’s book reviews were one of the biggest attractions. He wrote some of the finest in any genre.

    When I began writing for the site, I always secretly hoped that Gordon would edit my book reviews. He did a marvelous job, and I learned a lot from him.

    I was shocked when I heard about his passing. He was one of the “good guys,” and was taken far too early.

    Gordon, I thank you for allowing me to get to know you, for however brief a time that turned out to be.

    You will be missed.

  • Gordon will be missed.

  • I had the good fortune last summer to meet Gordon face to face over dinner in San Diego with Gordon Miller while covering Comic-Con. It was such a pleasure to meet him and experience his quick and very dry wit first-hand.

    I will miss him, and his passing is a great loss to our community of writers and editors.

  • I’m really saddened to hear about his passing. He and I joined Blogcritics at around the same time and he’s been one of the fixtures around here that have made it always a comfortable place to work. He will be sorely missed.

  • S.T.M

    Gone too soon.

  • Very sad news. Gordon was always very helpful with my reviews, he was very kind and professional. I’ll miss him greatly.

  • I was sorry to read here about Gordon’s death. I didn’t know him except for a few online interactions when he was the editor of work I submitted, and I found him to be straightforward, knowledgeable, and helpful. To hear him described as a mensch by people who knew him well doesn’t surprise me. This is a true loss.